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I'm a 30-something wife and mom. My boys are my pride and joy. Together, we are navigating being a forever family post international adoption.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Time I Used the "R" Word

Lately I've written a lot of posts that tie up nicely in the end and I come out looking like I know what I'm doing. We'd been going through a smooth patch so that really was what was going on in our life.

But over the last few weeks we've been going through a period that isn't so smooth. It reminds me quite a bit of how things were after our honeymoon period ended. I definitely made some wrong calls in those days. 

I generally don't live my life with regrets. The choices I made in my past have brought me to where I am today. But I do regret the time I told Buddy his birth Mom wasn't his real Mom.

Yep. I actually did that.

I told Buddy his Mom wasn't his real Mom, that she had the title taken away from her by a judge. That I had been given the title of "real Mom" by the same judge when we adopted him.

What on Earth did I think saying that would accomplish? That Buddy would agree? Forget his first Mom? Place me on a pedestal above her? 

I was not in a great place, mentally, in those days. It was not too long after I got home. I wasn't sleeping well, was constantly stressed and felt generally terrible. I was in survival mode. I was experiencing secondary trauma. And as hard as I was trying, I made bad choices. 

This particular one really is inexcusable. 

For the record, this isn't how I feel any more. Buddy's first Mom is his real Mom. I'm also his real Mom. I pretty much avoid the "R" word all together, because Buddy is able to decide what is real to him on his own without me butting in and trying to dictate his feelings.

I am trying my best to think before I speak and remember that there can be long term repercussions to things that only take a moment to say. It may mean I need to walk away when I am feeling overwhelmed, which doesn't make me a contender for world's best Mom. But it does keep me from saying something I'll regret.

I wish I had realized that right from the start.


  1. Thank you for sharing such a difficult issue. I avoid the 'r' word altogether, talking about 'first' and 'forever' or 'tummy' and 'heart' mummies. Language is so powerful and you are very right in what you say: "there can be long term repercussions to things that only take a moment to say". For what it's worth, I find rehearsing stories and phrases while I talk to him when he sleeps (!!) helps me get the right words out when it matters.

  2. Ohhhh I am so with you. I made a similar mistake many years ago which I regret so much now. Basically one of my children told me that their friends had been asking what happened to their real mom. I said something like "Did you tell them I'm right here?" and my child said "No they meant my birth mom" and I replied something along the lines of "Oh, well tell them she isn't your real mom then. Tell them *I* am your real mom." It wasn't until later in the day that I realized how horrible of a thing that was to say. We talked about it, but I've still felt bad about it.

    1. When I asked Buddy "Do you remember the time..." he didn't even hesitate when he said yes. Even though I've since apologized, I don't think I will ever not feel guilty. It's the verbal equivalent of a moment on the lips a lifetime on the hips!